There’s no denying that National Tequila Day is a holiday worth celebrating. It happens to fall this Thursday, July 24th, and in honor of this momentous occasion we’ve put together this little Austin guide to tequila.
Read below to find some great tequila-related advice from local bartenders, three local bars and restaurants that offer a wide variety of tequila, and three unique margaritas you have to try in Austin. If you’re not thirsty by the time you get to the bottom, check your pulse!
Tequila advice from a couple of our favorite bartenders…
- Kyle Hayes, Tacos and Tequila
-Favorite Type of Tequila: My go-to’s have always been the Añejos and Extra-Añejos. I love the taste of liquors aged in different types of new oak barrels, or ones that have been used for whiskeys, bourbons, cognac and port casks. Some would say that that it takes away from the purity and most forceful expression of a blanco.
However, I say, “Good things come to those who wait.” There are some good Jovens (blend of blanco and extra anejo) that I enjoy, and—if someone else is buying—I would never turn down a glass of Casa Dragones.
-Recipe For a Perfect Margarita: Some people would consider the margarita to be a craft cocktail. There is no actual origin to the original recipe. There are a handful of stories of where the original recipe came from, but nothing is set in stone, so why argue or try to complicate the drink?
While I enjoy the IBA standard of 7:4:3 (tequila: Cointreau: lime juice), I prefer to sweeten the drink with the plant that gave birth to the product: the blue weber agave. Four parts tequila, two parts lime, one part agave, and one part water. It’s a simple and sound margarita. It’s not over-thought or complex; it’s just a good drink.
-Best Tequila Drink at TnT: As far as the margaritas, I recommend the Orange Noir or the Spicy Cilantro. If you want a cocktail, I have to say that the Añejo Old Fashioned is my favored drink on the menu. If you are into Mezcals, Ryan Artus made a great version of the classic Blood & Sand with Del Maguey’s Crema de Mezcal.
However, if you come on in, there’s a list of drinks the bartenders know that aren’t on our main menu. Just talk to any of us, and we’d love to see what you like and give you some guidance.
-Go-To Toast: “¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’dentro!” If not that, I cheers to anything that is good in life at that moment.
- Chauncy James, Garage Cocktail Bar
-Favorite Type of Tequila: I’m a huge fan of the brand Tapatio, or sipping on El Tesoro Añejo. Both are made by master distiller, Carlos Camarena, and exemplify generations of experience in the art of making tequila.
-Recipe For a Perfect Margarita: Classic proportions are always a great place to start. I recommend starting with a 2:1:1 ratio: 2 oz. Silver tequila, 1 oz. Cointreau, 1 oz. fresh lime.
Most people adjust the sweet portion to their own liking by substituting or combining with things like simple, agave nectar or Curaçao—all of which are acceptable and keep the quest (or debate) for the perfect margarita ever present.
That being said, there are a few crucial things that will certainly make your margarita fall flat if you are not paying attention. Here are some simple tips to get the most out of your margarita:
- Buy good tequila.
- Always use fresh lime juice. No sweet and sour.
- Good ice. We’ve all had a watered-down margarita. It’s definitely not good, and somehow makes it feel hotter outside.
- Effort. A hard shake is what makes this one of the best drinks of all time. Give it at least 30 seconds to a minute. You will be glad you did.
-Best Tequila Drink at Garage: I would definitely recommend the margarita at Garage! Or, if you want something a little more potent, try the El Finito.
-Go-To Toast: Hmmmm. I’m usually pouring the drinks, which means someone else is doing the toasting. Just make it quick, will ya? Sentiment is for occasion, tequila is for drinking!
Three Austin bars flush with tequila…
Not only does Iron Cactus have over 100 tequilas on their menu (and an awesome patio downtown on which to enjoy them), but they’ve also been named one of the top tequila bars in the country—meaning there’s a definite focus on quantity and quality.
If somehow you haven’t managed to come out yet, make it a point to stop by this Thursday and try at least one new type of tequila. We can pretty much guarantee you’ll be glad you did.
Boasting a catalogue of around 40 families of tequila—which combined, account for the 140 types on offer—TnT is the indecisive imbiber’s worst nightmare, but in the best way. Ask the knowledgeable staff behind the bar what they recommend or—hey—make it a personal mission to try them all.
(Bonus: To commemorate National Tequila Day, they’ll be serving up $1.99 house margaritas, which are always an excellent option as well.)
With a sweet location right across the street from Stubb’s and around 90 tequila choices available, there’s no better place to stop for a pre-concert—or, hey, post-concert— craft cocktail than 508.
This year, they’ll be commemorating National Tequila Day with a tasting from 4-10 p.m., where representatives from 10 tequila companies will be present. And if that’s not a way to find your new favorite, we don’t know what it is.
Three unique ‘ritas you have to try in Austin…
- The Cantaloupe Margarita at Polvo’s
While this establishment offers nine interesting varieties of “fruity margaritas” to wash down their Interior Mexican cuisine—think coconut, peach, mango and more—we’re totally sold on both the unexpected aspect and the refreshing factor of the Cantaloupe, which is a cold, tasty way to wash down spicy samples from their famous salsa bar.
- The Purple Margarita at Baby Acapulco’s
For an industrial-strength option, look no further than the potent Purple Margarita at Baby A’s. The stuff of legend, if you haven’t enjoyed the brain freeze and buzz resulting from this delicious drink, you’re essentially required to go to one of the five locations in town to try one out.
And for those who’ve already been there, done that, and had the hangover, word on the street is that they’ve also added a new margarita flavor to the menu in the form of Watermelon Crush, which might call for a second visit.
- The Avocado Margarita at Curra’s Grill
Tex-Mex lovers have been pairing guacamole and margaritas for years, but Curra’s took this killer combo one delicious step further in the form of their famous Avocado Margarita. A creamy, green concoction, it pairs two of our favorite things for an insanely addicting drink that, based on nutritional science, has gotta be somewhat healthy, right?
For more ways to celebrate National Tequila Day in Austin, pick a place to enjoy a cold margarita from our extensive list of margaritas in Austin!
Contributed by: Sam Sumpter